6 Indonesian lawmakers slapped with travel bans over haj scandal

6 Indonesian lawmakers slapped with travel bans over haj scandal
Dr H. Suryadharma Ali, Indonesian Minister for Religious Affairs.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) announced on Monday that it had imposed travel bans on six House of Representatives law members in its investigation into alleged irregularities surrounding the management of the haj fund during 2012-2013, which resulted in state losses amounting to Rp 1 trillion (S$ 107 million).

"The six lawmakers are Bondo Radityo Gambiro, Muhammad Baghowi, Wardatul Asriah, Ratu Siti Romlah, Hasrul Azwar and Nurul Iman Mustofa. They are banned from traveling overseas for the next six months," KPK spokesman Johan Budi told a press conference at the commission's headquarters.

The graft case has resulted in former religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali, who is also chairman of the United Development Party (PPP), being named a suspect. Suryadharma is accused of flying dozens of people, including his relatives, ministry colleagues and House members, using money deposited in the haj fund by would-be pilgrims.

Bondo, a member of the ruling Democratic Part,y is currently serving as deputy chairman of House Commission VIII overseeing religion, while the Democrats' Baghowi, Mustofa and Ratu are Commission VIII members. Hasrul is also a Commission VIII member from the PPP, while Wardatul, Suryadharma's wife, was recently elected a House lawmaker for the PPP.

Suryadharma is the second active minister to be charged with graft following Democratic Party politician and former youth and sports minister Andi Mallarangeng, who was convicted for his role in the Rp 2.5 trillion Hambalang sports complex project in West Java.

Asked whether the KPK would name the six lawmakers suspects, as with Suryadharma, Johan said it was too early.

"As soon as KPK investigators find two strong pieces of evidence showing the involvement of other parties in the case, we will not hesitate to name further suspects," Johan added.

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